Americans are spending at least 5 hours per day close-up looking at computers, tablets and smartphones.1 However, our eyes were not designed for extended hours of close-up work. In the same way that we need regular physical exercises, we also need eye exercises. We evolved as hunter-gathers, and our eyes are made to scan the landscape. Modern technology has resulted in wide-spread computer eye strain. Symptoms include short-term dry eyes, worsening farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism, eye focusing disorders and poor eye coordination.
We have chosen two easy eye exercises you can do during a short 4-minute break. To start, find a location where you can see at least 10 feet ahead. If you are in a tight space, install a mirror, look out a window or go outside your cubicle.
When you are working on your computer, tablet or phone, do these easy exercises once every two hours. Additionally, look up from your screen at least once every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This lets the tiny muscles in your eyes relax.
Eye Exercise #1: Near and Far Focus
Near and Far Focus improves eye flexibility. Your eyes will change the viewing distance from near to far.
- Breathe easily throughout the exercise. This helps your muscles relax. Start with two deep breaths.
- Sit or stand with feet shoulder width apart. If you are standing, bend your knees slightly.
- Hold your thumb six inches away from your eyes directly in front of your nose. If you need to measure, a pen is about six inches long.
- Gaze easily at your thumb and take a deep breath. Then focus on a distant object at least ten feet away and take a deep breath.
- Change this focus every breath. Feel the muscles in your eyes change as you shift your focus.
- Continue for 2 minutes or 6 repetitions.
Eye Exercise #2: Figure Eights
This is a relaxing exercise that increases your eye muscles’ flexibility.
- Remember to breathe. Take two deep breaths.
- Either stand or sit with your feet shoulder width apart with your hands at your sides. Do not cross your hands. If you are standing, let your knees bend slightly.
- Imagine a figure eight approximately ten feet from you lying horizontally (lying in the shape of an infinity sign)
- Let your eyes trace along the figure eight without moving your head. First trace in one direction, then in the opposite direction.
- Always remember to continue to breathe and blink as your eyes move effortlessly along the figure eight. Check for tension in the jaw and let it release.
- Continue making smooth figure eights for 10 deep breaths.
Natural Eye Care offers a free ebook called “Exercises to Keep the Eyes Healthy.” Click to download this ebook when you want to add more eye exercises to your daily routine.
Nutritional support can also help you fight computer eye strain. Targeted nutrients support the circulation of tiny capillaries in the eyes that bring essential oxygen, antioxidants and vitamins to cells of the retinal tissue in your eyes.